There’s no doubt that Revival is an intelligent, promising series from Image Comics. The pseudo-zombie drama has a unique approach to its subject and characters, with sharp dialogue and good art to boot. However, it has a tendency to overwhelm its narrative with too many intersecting plotlines, resulting in uncertain character motivations and muddled plot progressions. Unfortunately, “Revival” #5 succumbs to these flaws.
WRITTEN BY: Tim Seeley
ART BY: Mike Norton
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE DATE: November 21st, 2012
One thing “Revival” does right is dialogue – and by extension, characterization. All of the characters are strong, with their own personalities and motivations. They have their own voices, and all of them provide insight into who they are and why they are doing what they’re doing. Most of it is fairly enjoyable to read as well, particularly the scenes involving “demonologist” and Limp Bizkit fan, Blain Abel. The characters also provide intelligent commentary on the events surrounding them, and encourage you to invest in the plot.
However, that plot is difficult to follow. There are a number of threads in “Reviver”, many of them still in their infancy, so it’s understandable that Tim Seeley feels their inclusion is necessary. And in this issue, we’re introduced to two new characters – well, arguably just one, though the identity of the ghost from issues past is sort of revealed. However, it’s still uncertain how these characters actually relate to the core group.
The other issue is that there are too many subplots for any of them to shine. Dana discovers Em’s inappropriate past with her English professor. Jamie Hettinga gets a creepy letter after her step-brother (and romantic partner) has been disemboweled. Em and May flee from Blaine on snow mobiles after Em has an encounter with the ghost. Ibrahaim Ramin gets a call from his former girlfriend informing him the CDC intends to quarantine the revivers. I get that this is all necessary for whatever Seeley has in store, but it needs to be communicated more effectively. We’re left with moments of good dialogue and some good action here, but not with much plot progression.
Mike Norton’s art, as usual, is quality. There’s nothing flashy about his stuff, but he gets the job done and tells a story well. The man can draw action, emotion, gore and whatever the script calls for, and for that he should be commended. His art is more consistent than the storytelling in this issue.
Still, all that said, I’m not down on the series. I have a feeling when it picks up the pace and the characters are more fully fleshed out, the story-telling will become less cluttered and more in-depth. When that happens, this will be one of the better series Image is producing.
Reviewed by – George Shunick